Billam-Smith defends WBO cruiserweight crown against Masternak on December 10

An early Christmas cracker will be delivered to the Bournemouth beachfront on Sunday, December 10th as cruiserweight king Chris ‘The Gentleman’ Billam-Smith (18-1, 12 KO’s) makes the first defence of his WBO World Cruiserweight Championship.


Polish powerhouse Mateusz Masternak (47-5, 31 KO’s) - a former European  and IBF and WBA Intercontinental Cruiserweight Champion currently ranked #5 in the world by the WBO and #9 by the WBC - challenges Billam-Smith in a championship bout which headlines the BOXXER card taking place at the Bournemouth International Centre and airs live and exclusively on Sky Sports.


Returning to the UK for the first time since his 2015 European championship war with Tony Bellew, Masternak rides a six-fight win streak into the bout. Three of those wins have come by KO, one of them a fourth-round stoppage of Albania’s Armend Xhoxhaj, who went five rounds with Billam-Smith last year. 


Having sold out the BIC on two previous occasions, December will mark Billam-Smith’s third time headlining Bournemouth’s largest indoor arena and his first contest since May, when he beat Lawrence Okolie in front of a capacity crowd at the Vitality Stadium.


And ahead of his maiden world title defence, Billam-Smith has committed his future to BOXXER by signing a new extended deal with the next-gen promoter, which includes a commitment to rematch Lawrence Okolie if he remains champion.


That event was the biggest boxing event in South Coast history and Billam-Smith’s return to action in December will be a triumphant year-end homecoming. Grateful for the years of loyal support, the champion requested the Sunday slot in order to allow travelling Bournemouth AFC fans to return from Saturday’s away game.


“Mateusz Masternak is a superb fighter, he’s proved that throughout his career. He’s got double the amount of fights that I have - he’s actually got more KO wins than I have fights - and his only losses are at the very top level. His style matches well with mine and I think it’s going to be a very exciting fight, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Billam-Smith.


Masternak said, “I think Chris Billam-Smith is a very good boxer. He showed his warrior soul in his last fight and proved that he deserves to be champion. I have a lot of respect for him in that way, but I believe more in my skills and my experience. I’ve been dreaming of the world championship since I started boxing. My boxing journey has been like a movie, all the highs and lows. I hope in December we get the best scene. I’m looking forward to fighting in England again, the fans create a great atmosphere there.“


BOXXER founder and CEO Ben Shalom said, “Chris Billam-Smith wanted his first defence of the WBO World Cruiserweight Championship to be a big crowd-pleaser of a fight in his home town. Mateusz Masternak ticks all the boxes; he's ranked number five in the world, he's got a ton of experience and he rarely takes a backwards step. He’s a very dangerous opponent and Billam-Smith is taking a serious risk here. 


“Anyone who has ever experienced a BOXXER event at the Bournemouth International Centre will know just how crazy the atmosphere gets in there and I think this one will take that to a new level, the crowd are going to raise the roof. We're ending the year with a guaranteed Christmas cracker and I can't wait."